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J. W. Murphy

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Pastiche:Stories and Such
by Lucille

collection of stories, essays and poetry. Several are award winners...  
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In Dangerous Times . . . Or, Just Deal
by J. W. Murphy
Friday, December 01, 2006
Rated "PG" by the Author.
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So I'm reading the paper today and there's this graph, a graph tracking the minimum wage, adjusted for inflation to today's currency, from 1938 to the present. It appears the minimum wage, right now, is the lowest it's been since 1948. 1948! What the hell! This sad fact inspired this poem.

We live during dangerous times--
     not dangerous because we are in physical danger,
          of a 9-11-esque "terrorist" attack
          or, of opening a letter laced with anthrax:
     no, not dangerous because of any physical danger.

We live during dangerous times--
     dangerous, because our livelihoods are in danger,
          not because of illegal immigrants
          no, not through free-trade agreements:
     yes, dangerous because our livelihoods are in danger.

We live during dangerous times--
     dangerous, because inflation is sucking down wages,
          it has been for decades
          it has been since around Watergate:
     inflation is sucking down wages,
          yet, minimum wages don't compensate
          yet, Congress has raised its compensation:
     inflation is sucking down wages,
          while the level of Executives' pay is up
          and, the cost of living is way up:
     inflation is sucking down wages,
          to where the poverty limit trumps minimum wage
          to where rents may be more than a month's pay:

We live during dangerous times--
Because the rich get richer, at the expense of the poor
And the poor just have to work more,
Or go on welfare,
Because, how can a minimum wage afford less than a poverty limit?
How can the government justify it
When people work sixty, eighty hours to meet their basic needs?
There is a reason for forty hour work-weeks!
There is a reason for eight hour work-days!
Maybe if the government wasn't so busy inciting terrorist frays
Or disabling dissenting Congressmen with anthraxed mail
They might remember who pays the taxes they extricate--
But wait . . .
The government is run by the Executives.
We working poor will just have to suffer--add your own expletive.


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Reviewed by Regis Auffray
A powerful, eye-opening poem. Thank you for sharing it. Love and peace to you,

Reviewed by Lori Moore
I enjoyed the commentary. It certainly is easy to see it that way. No matter who is in charge or which party is in power, the government fixes little.
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes
Most outstanding piece!!

Well done!!

love Tinka
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